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6 May 2015
Shropshire villagers safeguard future of historic hill

The Shropshire village of Pontesford, in the west of England, has raised more than 240,000 pounds in just five months to save a major historic landmark from potentially being closed to the public.
     Known locally as "The Hill", villagers have a deep affinity with the peak, which lies to the south-west of Shrewsbury at one end of the county's famous Stiperstones ridge. Access to popular walking routes on the conifer-covered hill has been under threat after its private owner challenged the public's right to roam over the peak.
     The Hill is one of the twin peaks of Pontesford and Earls Court, known collectively as the Sleeping Dragon. It sits in a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty, and is crowned by the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.
     The owner put the site up for sale after his own plans for developing the area were blocked by the local council.
     In all, more than 1,000 donations were received. This was the community's second attempt to buy the hill, after being outbid the first time. It now holds a 940-year lease on the popular landmark.
     Pontesford and Earls Court hills were the site of a Saxon battle that gave rise to the legend of the "golden arrow". One of the warring Saxon kings reputedly shot an arrow made of solid gold and it got lost in the battle. According to the legend, whoever finds the arrow is assured of great wealth and fortune.

Edited from The Independent (24 April 2015)

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